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Integrating new pullets into existing Flock in the Winter

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I currently have 4 Large Fowl hens (2 black sex link, 1 Buff Orp & 1 Barred Rock) & 1 Bantam Game Fowl Mix (bottom of the pecking order of current flock) all currently 9 months old, I acquired 3 more "Americana" feed store chicks the beginning of September to replace a large percentage of my original "pullets" turning out to be cockerels which aren't allowed in my area. Coop: 8 x 8 inside & Run: 8 x 11.

 

I have had the new pullets in a wire dog kennel inside the main coop for a week. Yesterday I tried some "together" time late morning. The larger hens seemed ok for the first 30 minutes or so and just ignored them, the Bantam who is quite a bit smaller than the 3 new pullets was relentlessly chasing and pecking at them while they hid in a corner. At this point the larger hens started chasing them. Since they didn't seem to be drawing any blood or being too aggressive I left to go fix lunch and let them establish a pecking order. I came back out to find the three 12 weekers huddled in a corner of the run. It is pretty cold here the past week, highs averaging 20 degrees. I did a few things outside while watching them, and finally went and put them back in the cage inside the coop after 30 minutes so they didn't freeze & they could eat and drink more.

 

Later in the afternoon before sunset all the older girls were starting to settle down and get their spot on the perch, I let the 3 littles back out they ate & drank from the big girl food and water (I put the Game Hen into the cage for an attitude adjustment so they could do this in peace) I let them be until it was fairly dark and checked on them again. They were sleeping on the ground so I put them up on the perch with the older girls. This morning I went out & same thing they were huddled into a corner of the run. I took out a large cardboard box and fashioned a smaller opening for the little ones to run into to hide. I went home for lunch and it seems like that's where they have been for most, if not all, of the day. since it is closer to 45 degrees today I let them be in their box for now....

 

Is there anything else I should be doing to help them along? Do I ride it out for a few days if they seem uninjured? the high tomorrow is 20 again. They don't seem interested to try and fly away from the others or even to roost. I can hang additional water & feeders outside for now, but if it starts to snow soon I don't want them in a box outside... needing some advice!

Our Suburban Flock:

 

1 Barred Rock, 2 Black Sex Links, 1 Buff Orpington, 1 Old English Game Mix

 

3 Dogs, 1 Husband, & 1 Energetic 2 Year Old

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Our Suburban Flock:

 

1 Barred Rock, 2 Black Sex Links, 1 Buff Orpington, 1 Old English Game Mix

 

3 Dogs, 1 Husband, & 1 Energetic 2 Year Old

Reply
post #2 of 7

I'd keep them locked up in the cage for another week. Chickens don't accept change easily, and that will give them some more time to mature. When you do let them out, I'd let them free-range (if you can) in the evening. That way they have room to get away, and the older girls wil be distracted by... free-ranging! Then they'll put themselves away, and maybe the littles will follow them back to the coop. Either way, if they sleep in the coop, then that's were they'll go to sleep.

Haha, your game sounds like my OEGB, Jane! :gig She bossed a sussex cockerel til he almost flattened her (stupid rooster). I'd look out the window and see big fat ball of feathers running from a little tiny gray blur! :lau 

 

Hope this helps!

I love three things:                               

1. Jesus, my Lord and Saviour

2. My chickens (notably Peep)

And 3. Star wars (!!)

 

"People who count their chickens before they act very wisely, because

chickens run about so absurdly that it is impossible to count them acturatly!"

 

A really fun website:

http://patorjk.com/software/taag/#p=testall&h=1&v=2&c=bash&f=Crawford2...

Reply

I love three things:                               

1. Jesus, my Lord and Saviour

2. My chickens (notably Peep)

And 3. Star wars (!!)

 

"People who count their chickens before they act very wisely, because

chickens run about so absurdly that it is impossible to count them acturatly!"

 

A really fun website:

http://patorjk.com/software/taag/#p=testall&h=1&v=2&c=bash&f=Crawford2...

Reply
post #3 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeChick16 View Post
 

I currently have 4 Large Fowl hens (2 black sex link, 1 Buff Orp & 1 Barred Rock) & 1 Bantam Game Fowl Mix (bottom of the pecking order of current flock) all currently 9 months old, I acquired 3 more "Americana" feed store chicks the beginning of September to replace a large percentage of my original "pullets" turning out to be cockerels which aren't allowed in my area. Coop: 8 x 8 inside & Run: 8 x 11.

 

I have had the new pullets in a wire dog kennel inside the main coop for a week. Yesterday I tried some "together" time late morning. The larger hens seemed ok for the first 30 minutes or so and just ignored them, the Bantam who is quite a bit smaller than the 3 new pullets was relentlessly chasing and pecking at them while they hid in a corner. At this point the larger hens started chasing them. Since they didn't seem to be drawing any blood or being too aggressive I left to go fix lunch and let them establish a pecking order. I came back out to find the three 12 weekers huddled in a corner of the run. It is pretty cold here the past week, highs averaging 20 degrees. I did a few things outside while watching them, and finally went and put them back in the cage inside the coop after 30 minutes so they didn't freeze & they could eat and drink more.

 

Later in the afternoon before sunset all the older girls were starting to settle down and get their spot on the perch, I let the 3 littles back out they ate & drank from the big girl food and water (I put the Game Hen into the cage for an attitude adjustment so they could do this in peace) I let them be until it was fairly dark and checked on them again. They were sleeping on the ground so I put them up on the perch with the older girls. This morning I went out & same thing they were huddled into a corner of the run. I took out a large cardboard box and fashioned a smaller opening for the little ones to run into to hide. I went home for lunch and it seems like that's where they have been for most, if not all, of the day. since it is closer to 45 degrees today I let them be in their box for now....

 

Is there anything else I should be doing to help them along? Do I ride it out for a few days if they seem uninjured? the high tomorrow is 20 again. They don't seem interested to try and fly away from the others or even to roost. I can hang additional water & feeders outside for now, but if it starts to snow soon I don't want them in a box outside... needing some advice!

Let them figure it out.....The new Birds are 12 weeks so probably rather sleep on the floor still......Adding a new flock to another flock takes time....As long as no blood is shed, leave them....It could take months for the Birds to become one flock or it may never happen? You will have two sub groups of Birds that tolerate each other but never become one flock......

Put out two feed and water stations and as long as no one gets hurt, leave them......If the Bantam is very aggressive lock her up for a week to change her standing in the pecking order....

 

 

Cheers!

Bouncers Mom..........Quack!
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Bouncers Mom..........Quack!
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post #4 of 7

Thanks for posting this. I think the replies have helped me a bit too, although my situation is a little different. I had a fantastic flock of 8 that were 7 months old, but 2 weeks ago came home from work and 5 had been killed and 3 had flown over the neighbor's fence.  (Still don't know what got the 5 - think it was a weasel; no blood, no broken necks, no broken skin, just piles of feathers and the girls scattered about).  I got 3 Rhode Island Reds that are about 5 months old.  My "old" girls are relentless; won't let them near food or water, or their nesting area.  When I got the 3 new ones, I added them to the coop at night, but it didn't make the old girls accept the new ones.  The 3 new ones huddle in the corner all day, and I let the 3 old ones out for about an hour to free range.  That's when the 3 new ones attack the food and water lol.  The nest box area is in a section of my garage, so the 3 new girls self-designated that as their home while the older 3 sleep in the coop.  The old girls "beat" the new ones out of the garage as soon as I open the coop door.  Will this get better with time?  Anything I can do to better manage it?  I may be adding one more to the flock - an Auracana whose flock-mates have all passed on.  My run area is about 8x40, and the coop is 4x4x4.  The 8 girls had been fine in there together.

Loving the Farm-ette

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Loving the Farm-ette

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post #5 of 7

Thanks for posting this. I think the replies have helped me a bit too, although my situation is a little different. I had a fantastic flock of 8 that were 7 months old, but 2 weeks ago came home from work and 5 had been killed and 3 had flown over the neighbor's fence.  (Still don't know what got the 5 - think it was a weasel; no blood, no broken necks, no broken skin, just piles of feathers and the girls scattered about :().  I got 3 Rhode Island Reds that are about 5 months old.  My "old" girls are relentless; won't let them near food or water, or their nesting area.  When I got the 3 new ones, I added them to the coop at night, but it didn't make the old girls accept the new ones.  The 3 new ones huddle in the corner all day, and I let the 3 old ones out for about an hour to free range.  That's when the 3 new ones attack the food and water lol :cd.  The nest box area is in a section of my garage, so the 3 new girls self-designated that as their home while the older 3 sleep in the coop.  The old girls "beat" the new ones out of the garage as soon as I open the coop door.  Will this get better with time?  Anything I can do to better manage it?  I may be adding one more to the flock - an Auracana whose flock-mates have all passed on.  My run area is about 8x40, and the coop is 4x4x4.  The 8 girls had been fine in there together.

 

It's cold here in Vermont too - about 20-30 during the day and 10-20 at night.


Edited by robomb - 12/13/16 at 8:50am

Loving the Farm-ette

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Loving the Farm-ette

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post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by robomb View Post
 

Thanks for posting this. I think the replies have helped me a bit too, although my situation is a little different. I had a fantastic flock of 8 that were 7 months old, but 2 weeks ago came home from work and 5 had been killed and 3 had flown over the neighbor's fence.  (Still don't know what got the 5 - think it was a weasel; no blood, no broken necks, no broken skin, just piles of feathers and the girls scattered about).  I got 3 Rhode Island Reds that are about 5 months old.  My "old" girls are relentless; won't let them near food or water, or their nesting area.  When I got the 3 new ones, I added them to the coop at night, but it didn't make the old girls accept the new ones.  The 3 new ones huddle in the corner all day, and I let the 3 old ones out for about an hour to free range.  That's when the 3 new ones attack the food and water lol.  The nest box area is in a section of my garage, so the 3 new girls self-designated that as their home while the older 3 sleep in the coop.  The old girls "beat" the new ones out of the garage as soon as I open the coop door.  Will this get better with time?  Anything I can do to better manage it?  I may be adding one more to the flock - an Auracana whose flock-mates have all passed on.  My run area is about 8x40, and the coop is 4x4x4.  The 8 girls had been fine in there together.

I would not be adding another new Bird to the situation you already have...

Not fair to the Birds....They are already under stress....

 

 

 

Cheers!

Bouncers Mom..........Quack!
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Bouncers Mom..........Quack!
Reply
post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by robomb View Post
 

Thanks for posting this. I think the replies have helped me a bit too, although my situation is a little different. I had a fantastic flock of 8 that were 7 months old, but 2 weeks ago came home from work and 5 had been killed and 3 had flown over the neighbor's fence.  (Still don't know what got the 5 - think it was a weasel; no blood, no broken necks, no broken skin, just piles of feathers and the girls scattered about).  I got 3 Rhode Island Reds that are about 5 months old.  My "old" girls are relentless; won't let them near food or water, or their nesting area.  When I got the 3 new ones, I added them to the coop at night, but it didn't make the old girls accept the new ones.  The 3 new ones huddle in the corner all day, and I let the 3 old ones out for about an hour to free range.  That's when the 3 new ones attack the food and water lol.  The nest box area is in a section of my garage, so the 3 new girls self-designated that as their home while the older 3 sleep in the coop.  The old girls "beat" the new ones out of the garage as soon as I open the coop door.  Will this get better with time?  Anything I can do to better manage it?  I may be adding one more to the flock - an Auracana whose flock-mates have all passed on.  My run area is about 8x40, and the coop is 4x4x4.  The 8 girls had been fine in there together.

Add some distractions to keep them busy. You can poke holes in a water bottle and fill it with scratch, or just hang a cucumber or lettuce out there for them to peck at. Make sure you put in two, so they all get some fun.

I agree with chickens really, Don't add another bird just yet. It would be really hard on all of them.

I love three things:                               

1. Jesus, my Lord and Saviour

2. My chickens (notably Peep)

And 3. Star wars (!!)

 

"People who count their chickens before they act very wisely, because

chickens run about so absurdly that it is impossible to count them acturatly!"

 

A really fun website:

http://patorjk.com/software/taag/#p=testall&h=1&v=2&c=bash&f=Crawford2...

Reply

I love three things:                               

1. Jesus, my Lord and Saviour

2. My chickens (notably Peep)

And 3. Star wars (!!)

 

"People who count their chickens before they act very wisely, because

chickens run about so absurdly that it is impossible to count them acturatly!"

 

A really fun website:

http://patorjk.com/software/taag/#p=testall&h=1&v=2&c=bash&f=Crawford2...

Reply
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